Jessica and I have made some pretty big decisions in the last few weeks. One of the biggest decisions concerns my job at our church and where we live. We have prayed so much about this and asked the Lord to reveal His will to us and He has. At the end of August I will be leaving Friendship Church and moving to the Birmingham area to be a part of another ministry. Jessica and I didn't see this coming, and when God opened the door and asked us to leave Athens we wondered "why now?" and "why us?" The interesting thing about our faith in Christ is that we don't always get the 'why' questions answered. When Mary, the mother of Jesus was asked to be the vessel that God used to bring His son to the earth, the 'why' was not offered, and she said yes. Also when Joseph was asked to marry a woman who carried a baby that was not his, and live with the shame of that - in the culture of his day - and then leave behind everything he knew to move to Egypt - all of his "whys" were not answered. He said yes to God - even when it didn't all make sense.
Now, Jessica and I have not been tasked with something near as important as Mary & Joseph. But when God reveals His will to you, it is paramount that we say yes. We don't understand God's timing, and the good news is - we don't have to. We trust in the Lord and we don't lean on our own understanding. When we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He directs our path.
So we are excited about the new season we are entering in our lives, but we are also sad to leave behind our home, family and friends. Our community has been so wonderful to Noah. Over the last 20 months we have received such an overwhelming display of love for him. It is difficult to leave that behind. Friendship Church is one of the greatest churches I have ever known. It is not perfect - no church is, but the people there have loved us without conditions. They have stood by us through our darkest moments, cried with us, laughed with us and financially held us afloat. We love our church.
To clarify - and to put rumors to rest. (I have chuckled a little bit over what we have heard - why some people think we are leaving.) It isn't for more money, it isn't for bigger church, it isn't because we are mad at leadership, it isn't because things aren't happening the way I like or want them to happen. These reasons are not the truth and aren't even issues. None of those reasons are ever a reason to leave a church. When God puts you somewhere, you stay until He leads you to the next destination. My pastors have prayed with me and given me a blessing to move into this new season of ministry. What an excellent way to move from one family of faith to another.
I love Friendship's leaders & staff like family, I love my church family like family. We love Athens and our community.
We are moving on because God is leading us to minister in another location. He does that quite often. I will bet you can find several examples of this in scripture.
Noah is doing very well. He is running all over the place staying busy, making noise and helping us have opportunities to practice self control. : )
We have a big prayer request. Please pray that God would lead someone to purchase our house in Athens. We are not anxious or worried, but we know the power of prayer.
Thanks for praying for and checking on our son.
Spread the word-
Pray for Noah.
MRI results - John David
Jessica and I had a lot of stress and anxiety coming against us these last two days concerning Noah's MRI as you can imagine. Noah has been doing so well since his radiation treatments ended in April, that we haven't really focused on what this MRI could show. Neither of us really slept last night. Around 12:30am I was standing in the window of the 9th floor hotel room we were staying in trying to prepare myself, trying to fight off worry and praying. I was thinking about the verse Noah has learned and the significance of the timing. There are so many things we are asking God for and trusting God for in our life. I am sure you are as well. The part he hasn't memorized is the latter part of Proverbs 3:5 "and lean not on your own understanding." That is the hardest part of walking with God for me. I want to have clear answers to all my questions, clear answers to all my prayers. God is sovereign, and He is consistent in not giving us all the answers, but He tells us to trust Him with all our heart. Trying to figure it all out can wreck your faith. Sometimes the greatest leap of faith is to not ask God for the why, but to tell Him, "No matter what, I will trust you - even if I don't understand."
We sat in the exam room waiting on his doctor to come in this morning. As we waited we played and laughed with Noah. She came in with bubbles and smiles and informed us that the tumor had not grown any. "In fact," she said, "it appears to have gotten smaller." We could not have received better news today. The spots on his spine have not changed since the last MRI so she has no concerns about them. It seems that the radiation accomplished what they meant for it to do.
We are so thrilled that for the next 89 days we can try our best to push cancer aside and let Noah live without needles, drugs, or side effects. He has been through so much since November of 2009. We praise God that Noah has been given a "stable" diagnosis for the next three months.
Over 700 people visited this site today and I have no clue how many posted on Facebook a prayer request for Noah. Jessica and I are so humbled by such a great outpouring of love for Noah. Thank you to everyone. We love you!
Pass it on - Pray for Noah!
Lifehouse Family Retreat
This week (July 11th - 16th) we have had an amazing time in Gulf Place Resort in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. A ministry called "Lighthouse Family Retreat" housed us, fed us, loved on us, and reminded us how to have a great time in the midst of tough situations. Volunteers came from all over to put the retreat together. We met so many wonderful individuals and families who gave a week of their life to minister to us and ten other families with children with cancer. College students made up a group of summer staff who help make everything work smoothly.
This was Noah's first time to ever see the ocean. It was a great place to have this experience.
Wednesday July 20th, Noah has his second MRI since his last radiation treatment. For three months he has led a "normal" life of a toddler. His oncologist wanted him detoxed of all chemo and medicine so we have had no doctor visits, no port access, no treatment since April. It has been really great. To be honest, we haven't thought much about the MRI Wednesday because we haven't wanted to. We have taken advantage of the time we have had without the stress of cancer. This retreat was the perfect time for us to once again refocus on what we may face in the next few weeks. We met amazing parents, all with kids with cancer - some who have come through it and are in remission and others who have been told there is nothing more that can be done for their children. We all sat together three hours a day and talked about our struggles, stories, and fears. We all had a lot of common ground and pain...and hope.
This MRI will show us if the radiation treatment this spring worked to stop the growth of Noah's tumor. The threat of bad news is very real. The chances of remission are slim. The fear of a bad scan is at times overwhelming. We needed the time with other parents (and their kids) to get unique encouragement that only comes from those who have walked through this kind of pain. We were reminded about the sovereignty of God from parents who lost their daughter to cancer 11 months ago, who encouraged us so much that you can still say God is good when you don't get your prayers answered. We met Truman, an awesome kid who is full of life. He happens to be an amputee because of cancer, but can still do a great cannonball into the pool with only one leg. His mom & dad reminded us that it sucks to be forced to be grateful for things most take for granted, but be grateful anyway, and to rejoice (and not be angry) every morning your kid wakes you up (even if it is 5:30 AM) because it means they are still here. We met a mom who has been given the worst news you can get about your child's prognosis - and she is still able to say "God is good." They are all my new inspiration.
Only God knows what lies ahead for Noah. If we treat everyday as a gift, celebrate the moments we have as best we can, and use our situation to show that when things are so painful - God is still good, I think we can live without regret.
So, thank you lighthouse family retreat for a wonderful trip! Thank you to our new friends Julie & Jessica for loving & taking care of Noah during our small group time.
Wednesday July 20th is a big day. Please pray with us for Good news.
Spread the word ~ Pray of Noah.
These posts are written by Noah's parents Jessica & John David Crowe. The default author is Jess, and those written by John David will be noted.